Graciousness: It’s An Art 42


 

What is graciousness?  Is it a physical trait?  Do we look to Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly? 

tpsdave / Pixabay

Graciousness is more than physical, it is behavioral.  Graciousness is the ability to be pleasant, kind, and courteous.  Recently, I experienced both sides of this coin.  I had someone, whom I admire, reach out to me and share her gracious manner and heart.  This left me feeling uplifted and energized.  It also left me feeling more able and willing to share with others.  On the other hand, I have had a few others show me their thoughtless and discourteous side.  This left me feeling angry and hurt.  It also left me feeling more self-focused and less likely to reach out to others.

Does it sometimes seem that we are losing a little bit of common courtesy and kindness in our everyday living?  Our media seems to prize characters that are blunt, flippant, insincere and even rude.  Social media seems to take the place of face-to-face interaction.  Digital faces are more important than physical ones.  I have found myself doing this.  It is easier to shoot a text message instead of sending a thank  you card.  Sometimes I don’t want to talk to others (classic introvert behavior) so I ignore others’ social cues and hide out in my own little world. 

But, I must admit, I love the art of graciousness.  I love to be around gracious people.  They make me feel uplifted.  They make me feel interesting.  They leave me feeling better about myself.  I want to be that kind of person.

Our present media and culture is surrounded in self-centered and ungracious behavior.  Go and read the comments on your local news media site and you will see.  Enter Facebook, and you will surely see.  It appears that we get mixed up understanding the difference between expressing an honest opinion and being rude.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on a variety of topics, but I would hope we could disagree pleasantly.  I even expect to disagree with others, but sometimes the saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” truly applies.

'If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all.' Today will be another silent day.

I want to be gracious.  I want to surround myself with graciousness. 

After a little experience and some research, I have come up with ten tips to becoming more gracious:

1.  Learn to say and accept two words: Thank you.  Being gracious involves the ability to say thank you.  Thank you for coming.  Thank you for the compliment.  Thank you for listening.  Thank you for being there.  This is one that I have to work on.  I struggle with accepting a compliment.  I am certain I have offended people because I have brushed off their graciousness.  Learning to accept compliments and say “Thank you” is definitely a gracious act.  Practice.  Even if you think you look terrible and your hair is a mess, when someone gives you a compliment, say it: “Thank you.”  You’re welcome.

2.  Be on time.  This is another one I have had to work on.  I didn’t see it.  I didn’t see how rude and inconsiderate of another being late was.  I was just busy and couldn’t make it.  More recently, I have learned the importance of being on time.  Occasionally there is a reason and excuse for being late.  We have all experienced that.  But being regularly and inexcusably late is unacceptable.  Change your alarm.  Set a reminder. Practice being on time and make it a priority.  When others are waiting for you, remember that they live very busy and full lives as well.  Being on time is a gracious act. 

Source

3.  Pay attention.  Put your focus on the person you are speaking with in the moment.  Pay attention to the details.  Listen to what they are saying to you.  Listening is a skill.  It takes patience and understanding.  But, don’t we all like to be heard?  We all like to feel that people care about us and are interested in our lives.  We can do this by paying attention.

4.  Put away the media.  If you are visiting with someone, put away your phone.  Shut off the television.  The emails, social media updates, and t.v. shows will wait, and they certainly aren’t more important than another person.  I remember sitting at lunch with someone who I was so excited to spend time with. I had looked forward to the lunch and time together for a long time.  During the entire lunch, my companion was on his phone, checking emails, responding to texts, and otherwise occupied.  I felt hurt and disappointed.  The lunch was wasted and time was gone.  Although we need our phones for emergencies, other things will wait.  Turn on the vibrate, and put it out of sight.  Those things will wait.  Make time for a friendship.

5.  Make eye contact.  Look at someone when you are speaking with them.  Make eye contact.  You will be surprised at how much more you remember and see when you make eye contact with another person.  You will see if they are interested.  You may see if they are tired or uncomfortable.  When you make eye contact, you not only show interest in another person, but it also allows you to see more of them.  I have learned that I remember more when I make eye contact with another person.  I also feel more of their emotions when I do.  Remember the phrase, “The eyes are a window to the soul”?  Well, there is much truth to that. 

6.  Be nice.  Maybe I am oversimplifying here, but being nice goes a long way towards graciousness.  It means saying nice things, giving compliments, it being generally pleasant to be around.  Be nice.  You learned it in kindergarten.  Apply now and repeat.

Colossians 4:6: β€œLet your utterance be always with graciousness, seasoned with salt, so as to know how you ought to give an answer to each one.” Gracious words of truth will prove appetizing to honesthearted persons and will work to their permanent benefit.

7.  Be sincere.  Being gracious doesn’t mean being fake.  Being gracious means being sincerely interested in others around you.  Don’t fake it or give unnecessary and insincere compliments.  We all can see through those from a mile away.  Be nice and be honest.  There are often several nice things that go through our minds that we don’t say out loud.  Practice saying those things to others.  It may feel vulnerable or risky, but we all like hearing nice things about ourselves.  And, this is gracious behavior!!

8.  Remember the details.  This goes along with paying attention.  Remember little things: when they are going to the doctor for that appointment they are worried about, their birthday, their name.  We all want to be remembered.  Some people say they just can’t remember names or other things about people.  There is some truth to that, but remembering details is also a sign of what is important to you.  When you pay attention, and make an effort to make it important to you, you will be more likely to remember things about others around you. 

If you don’t remember or your mind goes blank, don’t avoid the person.  Approach, introduce, and kindly ask for a reminder.  Say something like: “I remember you, but can’t seem to find your name.  I’m Elizabeth.” Most people will kindly introduce themselves and begin a conversation.

9.  Follow up.  When you get down the knack for paying attention and remembering, follow up.  When you see them again, ask about their birthday.   Ask about their doctor’s appointment, or their kids.  This is gracious and helps show others that you truly care for them.

10. “Build up” instead of “one up”.  This is so important.  We live in a world of tooting your own horn: Be first, be the best!  Be perfect.  Well, I have lived several years, and still haven’t met a perfect person.  Not one.  I have been in conversations where I left feeling “one-upped” by another.  I left feeling down.  We don’t need to see conversation as a competition. 

Think about those conversations that you left feeling the best.  I imagine you felt listened to, cared about, uplifted, understood, and considered in those conversations.  When you are speaking with another, find a way to leave them feeling better than when you found them. Don’t leave them worried about the team that their child didn’t make or that new car that they couldn’t afford.  Leave them grateful that they are your friend, and that you are lucky to have them in your life.  Always leave them feeling greater, not less than.

These are things that I have to work on.  Being gracious is nearing a lost art.  We are becoming more self-centered, more disconnected, and more inconsiderate.  I fall short all the time, but liked having a reminder that being gracious is an art. 

Practice graciousness.

Graciousness.jpg

Did you have someone show graciousness in your life this week?  Feel free to share in the comments!!

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Elizabeth

Wife, mother of twins, speaker, and creator of Balm to My Soul.I love to write, speak, sleep, snuggle and, if I really get lucky, inspire and help others. I am clearly imperfect but determined to be a little better every day. Some days are better than others! Thanks for stopping by!
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About Elizabeth

Wife, mother of twins, speaker, and creator of Balm to My Soul. I love to write, speak, sleep, snuggle and, if I really get lucky, inspire and help others. I am clearly imperfect but determined to be a little better every day. Some days are better than others! Thanks for stopping by!


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42 thoughts on “Graciousness: It’s An Art

  • Reply
    Rebecca

    Oh my goodness! I couldn’t have said it better myself! I get people thinking I’m weird, to sappy, to nice by being gracious. I have actually been called “to nice” several times. Like it is a bad thing. I think people have become uncomfortable being kind, loving and thinking of others first. You are so right about people who use their phones,etc, when visiting with others. It is like a bad habit they can’t break. However, sometimes I wonder if they just don’t know better. Well, I loved this post! You hit the nail on the head. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thanks Rebecca. It is nice to be nice. I think others really underrate or even denigrate polite, kind, and understanding behavior. It is too bad. We can all use a little more nice!! Have a great day and thanks for visiting.

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thank you Mindi!! I needed the reminder too. I especially get bad about checking my phone. I have to put it out of sight – preferably in my purse on the floor. Thanks for visiting!!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thanks Carol!! I have been needing more graciousness in my life as well. Have a wonderful day!!

  • Reply
    Crystal Green

    This is a well said post. I do believe that more people should learn this concept. I think this is a lost art in our world today. Glad to know that I’m not the only one preaching this.

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thanks, Crystal!! It is so important to learn this and I wish more people would practice it regularly. Have a wonderful day!

  • Reply
    Forest Rose

    I absolutely agree! I truly cringe every time I see someone being rude in life, facebook etc. It has become like a plague. The way people talk and treat each other makes me withdrawn and most of the time I don’t even want to be involved in Social Media anymore. I always tell my girls that saying too “if you can’t say anything nice….” This is how I have always tried to lead my life and if I can raise up 3 more people to treat others that way I guess I will have at least done something…lol. Thank you so much for your precious words!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thank you! It is so true the being gracious is getting lost!! It is also so important to teach our children this. I sometimes see parents unknowingly teaching their children the opposite. I am sure there are times that I have done so. I am working on it, imperfectly, but certainly making an effort. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing!!

  • Reply
    Topaz @ The Art of a Beautiful Life

    Oh, Elizabeth! I LOVED this. I think you and are going to be fabulous friends. I think in our attempt to be real, we have a society that has become rude. Everything we think does not always need to come out of our mouths. I think the online thing has definitely contributed to that. But here’s to the art of graciousness. I’m pinning this! Let’s spread the word.

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Topaz!! You just made my day! I agree with your statement about society. But, we don’t need to say everything that we think. Thank you for sharing and pinning. We should spread the word!! Can’t wait to get to know you more!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thanks, Megan. I love being around gracious people. It helps me be a better person too!!

  • Reply
    Bev

    So wonderfully put! I definitely think graciousness is an art that too many people don’t put much effort into (and really, I honestly don’t think it takes that much effort). It really bothers me when I’m out with friends or family and the other person or people are constantly on their phone. Recently I had a friend over and the entire time we were talking she kept blatantly scrolling through Facebook. I was so put-off I didn’t know what to say, it made me want to take out my phone and start checking my e-mail. But conversely, being on the receiving end of a gracious act feels so wonderful and can put you in the best mood. Thanks for sharing, stopping by from the Mommy Monday Blog hop.

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      I know it!! I have to put my phone away because I have a tendency to be overly involved on my phone. I really try to make an effort to be gracious. The thing I have to work on is with my family…I must put my phone away during meal times especially! Thank you for being gracious and leaving me a nice compliment on my site!! Have a wonderful day!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thanks! I have to work on leaving the media. It is an effort, but really makes it worthwhile in interacting with others. Thanks for the visit and for hosting!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Me too, Lory. When someone remembers something about me, it makes me feel that I am important and they truly care. Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day!

  • Reply
    Camille

    Graciousness is certainly becoming a lost art. Great list of ways to be gracious- I especially enjoyed your last one. I tend to drift away from people who are always competing with me instead of being built up together. Thanks!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      I tend to do that same thing. I don’t like feeling compared and competitive with my friends. I try to leave that behind (though it is difficult sometimes). I think graciousness takes practice. Have a wonderful week in beautiful CO.

  • Reply
    Treana B

    How easy it is for all of us to get wrapped up in our issues and problems and joys. Stopping and offering something of ourselves to another person is SO NEEDED in this world. THANK YOU! -Treana @ houseofbennetts.com

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      So true. And, it really doesn’t take that much more effort to be kind, or more time. Just a little thoughtfulness. Smiles!

  • Reply
    Marie

    Well written and worth reading! I always insist that TV and computers be off when we have company. One upping is one of my pet peeves. At least, I’m learning to keep my mouth shut when it really doesn’t matter. I’m hopping here from Happiness Is Homemade and following you on Bloglovin’.

    Blessings to you and yours!

    Marie

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thanks Marie!! Very sweet of you to stop by. I agree, it is a pet peeve of mine when the tv is on when others are visiting. I even try to shut it off when I answer the door. Just good manners. Going to check out your site now to follow you back!

  • Reply
    Laura funk

    Great post! I really really needed to read this and remind myself about the phone being out. Thank you for linking up to Friday Favorites last week. Hope to see you this week!

  • Reply
    Mrs. AOK

    I absolutely love this post; I had to share on all social media, hoping others see what you have pointed out. I agree with every word. I’m sometimes guilty of getting lost in the daily. Thankfully, I’m able to remind myself what’s important and to be thankful for each minute.
    All the best-
    XOXO

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thank you and thanks for sharing! I believe it is so important to be gracious and I feel that we are losing the skill in our society today. I am so glad you have the ability to be grateful. It really makes a difference in the day-to-day!

    • Reply
      balmtomysoul Post author

      Thanks, Mededith. And thanks for hosting the Manic Monday blog hop!! I will see you there!

  • Reply
    Galaxia

    If only everyone was as thoughtful and gracious as you πŸ™‚ I love every tip, especially #4!! It is so annoying when I’m trying to have a conversation or accomplish something with someone who keeps checking their phone -____- I also like how you mention that the media seems to applaud rude characters…and that people seem to have a hard time distinguishing between honest and rude. Thanks for this great post and I’ll be joining you on social media!

  • Reply
    Julie V. (Somebody's Dinner)

    Elizabeth, these are such great reminders.
    I just moved about 6 weeks ago and I have been impressed by how gracious some of the new people I’ve met are! A couple from church had my husband and I over for dinner. They spent the first 10 minutes just asking us questions about ourselves and only volunteering information when we asked and they seemed so interested. I think I could learn a lot from them about being gracious.
    I hope to see you tonight at the next Retro Re-pin Party.
    -Julie

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Post author

      I love it when others truly show gracious behavior. I think it is catching. When you see someone act graciously, it makes you want to create more of that in your own life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!